Translation:I gave money to that man.
It is a bit inconsistent on Duolingo, but I think the "so" series works OK for the definite article as well.
Sono and sore can refer to subjects previously visited in conversation. You could think of it like: The man we discussed earlier, I gave money to him. Or, more likely: I gave money to the man whose job it is to collect the money. He might be the only man around taking money, so you don't have to point to him and say "that" man.
As usual, it's about context.
Hum. I didn't think so. I got confused because I saw "わたしました" and first thought "I?" Then, I realized it didn't make any sense and it was just me lacking vocabulary. I looked it up and everything was all good.
Vocabulary has been my issue in any sentence. Having the kanji only makes it easier to recognize that I don't know a word. As soon as I know the words, though, things become a lot easier to understand, especially if I listen to the sentence, say it out loud to myself, or both.
I think if you keep studying Japanese long enough you'll also start to find it difficult to read without kanji. Having kanji provides clues about where individual words begin and even whether it's a noun, verb, or adjective. Not knowing the reading for a kanji can make reading a sentence very difficult or even impossible, but that's what furigana is for - so you can see the kanji and read it even if you have never seen it before.
For people who are having trouble reading sentences without kanji, some tips:
1) Find a good online dictionary (I recommend jisho.org)
2a) Copy the entire sentence and just paste it in the searchbar. Jisho.org splits up the words for you.
2b) Isolate the word you don't know by locating the particles in the sentence.
In this case, を is the last particle we see in the sentence, so we can assume that わたしました is probably the verb. Copy and paste, voila.
I guess it depends on how much you study next to duolingo and also what your priorities are. The very best solution would be individual customization of everybodys profile, toggle ON or OFF weather you like to see the Kanji or not. Of course this would mean some work for the Duolingo staff ¯_(ツ) _/¯ but it would be the ultimate solution i guess
Unfortunately this will never happen. It would require the DuoLingo staff to reprogram the way languages are handled to fix a problem that is pretty much unique to Japanese. This is well beyond the scope of what is possible for the course contributers. They must do their best to work with the existing tools that were made to handle Western languages, primarily.
If you are looking for proper kanji support, you'll need to switch to a program that was actually built to teach Japanese and other Asian languages, like LingoDeer.
Think of it like learning words before the alphabet. The basic "alphabet" in Japanese is hiragana so we're getting lots of practice reading that before learning Kanji. Being bombarded with junk-tons of kanji may make things more difficult for most people if they haven't memorized hiragana and don't know sentence structure. Introducing kanji slowly as you learn the foundations of the language sounds more reasonable to me.
Besides, there are tons of resources out there to learn kanji. I use the "Kanji Study" app on my Android.
I sort of agree, but I think in this particular instance, and in a few others, they need the kanji. Or at least need the option to flip between them, so you choose.
Moreover, Duolingo sometimes takes you a step back. It introduced us to the kanji for dog some time ago, then in later lessons went back to writing it in kana. But these sample sentences would have been a great opportunity to practice reading it in a sentence. I find learning kanji by rote difficult and, alone, has a low success rate. Even breaking down their radicals can simply overcomplicate things.
Someone who knows basic Japanese sentence structure would know that verbs come at the end of a Japanese sentence and that watashi would never appear at the end of a sentence, hence it must logically be a similar sounding verb. Of course it doesn't help that when you click on it duolingo splits watashimashita into two words - watashi and shimashita. This seems to happen a lot and really needs to be fixed asap.
I find myself reading these backwards to understand them better, but I KNOW this has to be bad practice since that's not now it is actually spoken aloud. :(
Is there a better way to study to grasp the order of all the sentence's particles when converting Japanese to English in your brain?
Don't think about the action until the sentence is done. The order of the sentence's particle phrases is typically given by the importance of each phrase. So I read forward, stopping at each particle to understand the pieces of info related to the sentence (building them into noun phrases and such as I move on). I don't think about how to translate the entire sentence into English until I get to the last verb.